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Need help with breakout switch on Wireless Weather Station
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Need help with breakout switch on Wireless Weather Station

by ejstembler on Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:13 pm

Hi,

I'm a newbie when it comes to this. I just took a soldering class last week!

In any case, I'm building the ESP8266 WiFi Weather Station with Color TFT Display project. I got everything working, however, I don't see how to get the breakout switch working.

For example, I bought Female-to-Male jumper wires, but I don't know which of the 3 pins on the switch to put the female terminals on. Or, where to plug the male ends into the FeatherWing. Lastly, I've tried different combinations of 2 of the pins on the switch into what I think are the EN and GND slots on the FeatherWing. However it only partially works. With the switch on the FeatherWing OFF, the breakout switch doesn't work. If I put the FeatherWing on-board switch ON, the breakout switch kind of works, but won't turn OFF.

It would be great if the original tutorial had all this explained and spelled out in a video for beginners. Thanks!

ejstembler
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Need help with breakout switch on Wireless Weather Stati

by adafruit_support_mike on Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:18 am

ejstembler wrote:I'm a newbie when it comes to this. I just took a soldering class last week!

Awesome!

These forums are a beginner-friendly place, and at the risk of quoting the Cheshire Cat, we're all newbies at something.. some of us just have to walk a little farther to find things that bewilder us. ;-)

For the slide switch, you'll need to connect two wires between the switch itself and the TFT FeatherWing. Life will be a little easier for you if you use solid wire in the 20-gauge to 24-gauge range. That plugs into the headers on either side of the Feather easily.

Quick tip: almost all phone wire is solid-core 24-gauge. A few yards from a hardware store will keep you in jumper wires for years. Some people find 24-gauge a bit flimsy though, and we have spools of 22-gauge in the shop:

https://www.adafruit.com/products/1311

Whatever you choose, one wire goes into the hole labled 'EN', and the other goes into one of the holes labeled 'GND'.

At the switch end, the wire going to EN connects to the pin in the center of the slide switch. The wire going to GND connects to the pin on whatever side you want to be 'OFF'.

As another tip, soldering wires to terminals is something we do all the time, and is fairly easy if you have four hands: one to hold the wire, one to hold the soldering iron, one to hold the solder, and one to hold the switch. Working with only two hands can be infuriating, so we find ways to cheat.

Start by fixing the switch in place.. a piece of painter's tape makes a fast and easy fixture. Once that can be trusted to stay in one place, tin the terminals you want to use. The idea is that you want to pre-load the terminal with a small blob of solder. Then strip about 1/4" of insulation off the ends of the wires, and tin those too. Taping them to a scrap of wood so the stripped ends hang out in the air is ideal. Again, the idea is to pre-load the wire with a little bit of solder.

Once the terminals and the wires have been tinned, you can put the roll of solder off to one side. Hold the tinned end of one of the wires against one of the tinned terminals and heat them with your soldering iron. The pre-loaded solder on both pieces will melt and flow together, making a nice, clean joint.

If you want to be classy about things, you can slide a short piece of heat-shrink tubing along the wires and over the solder joints, then shrink it down so there's a layer of insulation that covers the joint and extends about half an inch over the insulation on the wire. Heat shrink insulates the joint electrically and provides mechanical strain relief. If you flex a solder joint too many times, the solder will crystallize and break.


Also, there are two habits to habits to drill into your muscle memory as early as possible: clean the tip of your iron every couple of minutes, and use a little flux for every joint.

Molten solder oxidizes when it's in contact with the air. In a solder joint, that oxide layer mixes into the liquid metal and turns it pasty. If your joints start acting more like toothpaste than like oil, you need some flux. On the tip of a soldering iron (which stays hot all the time), the oxide will gradually form a solid coating around the tip. Oxide doesn't transfer heat well, so it will get harder and harder to make decent joints as that layer grows. If the tip of your iron stops being shiny (which only takes a couple of minutes), clean it. Melt a little solder onto it, then wipe it on a damp sponge.

Flux is the antidode for oxidation. It's an acid that's more or less inert at room temperature, but becomes aggressive enough to melt oxide at soldering temperatures. Flux also forms a layer over molten solder that keeps air from coming in contact with the liquid metal, keeping the oxide from happening in the first place. Flux burns away in 10-15 seconds though, so ideally you want to make a joint in less time than that. 5 seconds between melting the solder and letting it cool is usually plenty. If you have to reheat, get some more flux.

adafruit_support_mike
 
Posts: 54125
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:51 pm

Re: Need help with breakout switch on Wireless Weather Stati

by ejstembler on Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:12 pm

Thanks for the response, and all of the useful information!

I actually got it to work with the jumper wires with connectors.

IMG_2013.jpg
IMG_2013.jpg (60.09 KiB) Viewed 331 times


Though I like your suggestion about soldering the wires without connectors. The connectors made it challenging to close the lid since the space is limited. I ended up routing the wires under the HAT and the male connectors had to bend a little to fit.

Two more reasons it wasn't working for me the first time: 1) I didn't know to push the female connectors all the way on the switch pins (they were probably loose before), and 2) I tried using the 4th slot instead of the 2nd slot on the GND (that one seemed to work, but not the other).

Also, thanks for the information about the switch pins, that was very helpful! I had no idea that the center pin was for EN and the outer pins determined which side acts as OFF. Very cool!

Lastly, thanks for all of that information about soldering! I'm very new to soldering and that information helped fill in some gaps for me. Last week I took an Intro to Soldering class at my local hackerspace. We learned by building the Minty Boost kit. After that class, I purchased Ladyada's Electronics Toolkit to have a soldering iron et. al. So this Weather Station kit was my second chance to do some soldering. Sounds like I should add wires, heat-shrink tubing, and flux to my shopping list...

Thanks again!



adafruit_support_mike wrote:
ejstembler wrote:I'm a newbie when it comes to this. I just took a soldering class last week!

Awesome!

These forums are a beginner-friendly place, and at the risk of quoting the Cheshire Cat, we're all newbies at something.. some of us just have to walk a little farther to find things that bewilder us. ;-)

For the slide switch, you'll need to connect two wires between the switch itself and the TFT FeatherWing. Life will be a little easier for you if you use solid wire in the 20-gauge to 24-gauge range. That plugs into the headers on either side of the Feather easily.

Quick tip: almost all phone wire is solid-core 24-gauge. A few yards from a hardware store will keep you in jumper wires for years. Some people find 24-gauge a bit flimsy though, and we have spools of 22-gauge in the shop:

https://www.adafruit.com/products/1311

Whatever you choose, one wire goes into the hole labled 'EN', and the other goes into one of the holes labeled 'GND'.

At the switch end, the wire going to EN connects to the pin in the center of the slide switch. The wire going to GND connects to the pin on whatever side you want to be 'OFF'.

As another tip, soldering wires to terminals is something we do all the time, and is fairly easy if you have four hands: one to hold the wire, one to hold the soldering iron, one to hold the solder, and one to hold the switch. Working with only two hands can be infuriating, so we find ways to cheat.

Start by fixing the switch in place.. a piece of painter's tape makes a fast and easy fixture. Once that can be trusted to stay in one place, tin the terminals you want to use. The idea is that you want to pre-load the terminal with a small blob of solder. Then strip about 1/4" of insulation off the ends of the wires, and tin those too. Taping them to a scrap of wood so the stripped ends hang out in the air is ideal. Again, the idea is to pre-load the wire with a little bit of solder.

Once the terminals and the wires have been tinned, you can put the roll of solder off to one side. Hold the tinned end of one of the wires against one of the tinned terminals and heat them with your soldering iron. The pre-loaded solder on both pieces will melt and flow together, making a nice, clean joint.

If you want to be classy about things, you can slide a short piece of heat-shrink tubing along the wires and over the solder joints, then shrink it down so there's a layer of insulation that covers the joint and extends about half an inch over the insulation on the wire. Heat shrink insulates the joint electrically and provides mechanical strain relief. If you flex a solder joint too many times, the solder will crystallize and break.


Also, there are two habits to habits to drill into your muscle memory as early as possible: clean the tip of your iron every couple of minutes, and use a little flux for every joint.

Molten solder oxidizes when it's in contact with the air. In a solder joint, that oxide layer mixes into the liquid metal and turns it pasty. If your joints start acting more like toothpaste than like oil, you need some flux. On the tip of a soldering iron (which stays hot all the time), the oxide will gradually form a solid coating around the tip. Oxide doesn't transfer heat well, so it will get harder and harder to make decent joints as that layer grows. If the tip of your iron stops being shiny (which only takes a couple of minutes), clean it. Melt a little solder onto it, then wipe it on a damp sponge.

Flux is the antidode for oxidation. It's an acid that's more or less inert at room temperature, but becomes aggressive enough to melt oxide at soldering temperatures. Flux also forms a layer over molten solder that keeps air from coming in contact with the liquid metal, keeping the oxide from happening in the first place. Flux burns away in 10-15 seconds though, so ideally you want to make a joint in less time than that. 5 seconds between melting the solder and letting it cool is usually plenty. If you have to reheat, get some more flux.

ejstembler
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Need help with breakout switch on Wireless Weather Stati

by adafruit_support_mike on Sun Jan 29, 2017 1:36 am

Nice looking build!

ejstembler wrote:Also, thanks for the information about the switch pins, that was very helpful! I had no idea that the center pin was for EN and the outer pins determined which side acts as OFF. Very cool!

That's not a rule.. just a tidy design choice.

In the language of switches, the side that gets connected to different things is called a 'pole', and the things that can be connected to it are called the 'throws'. The slide switch connects the center pin to the pins at either end, so it belongs to the family of 'single-pole/double-throw' switches. The center pin is the pole, and the pins at the ends are the throws.

Functionally, you could connect either EN or GND to the pole pin. The the switch would work just as well either way. Mentally though, it's easier to understand the switch by saying, "it controls what EN is connected to." Connecting EN to the switch's pole makes the hardware line up with the idea behind it.

ejstembler wrote:Lastly, thanks for all of that information about soldering! I'm very new to soldering and that information helped fill in some gaps for me.

Soldering isn't too hard to learn, but it does help to get hints from people who've had more experience. Like any material trade, you have to learn to associate what you're seeing with things that work and things that don't. Having someone say, "right there.. that's what you're looking for" or "see here? That's an early warning sign of this problem" saves you from having to make the connections through trial and error.

Nothing beats doing it a lot though. By the time you're through your first half-pound roll of solder, your eye will probably be pretty well trained. ;-)

adafruit_support_mike
 
Posts: 54125
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:51 pm

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.